When my father, who had a brain tumor and who was fiercely independent, slowly grew to be unreliable in the handling of his bills, etc., I worried about trying to strong-arm him into letting go of their management. A friend said to me, in a reference to the biblical ‘Honor the father and thy mother,’ etc.: “You ARE honoring him by taking care of things, even if he doesn’t understand that at this point. It helped a lot. And, he allowed me to do that after a little negotiation, which relieved us both.
For the adult children of a parent with Alzheimer’s who needs in-home care, there are tricks to it. Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Caregiver magazine, offers a great example of how to help a loved one who has been highly functioning but who now needs help, accept that help. How you characterize it matters!
It’s sometimes very difficult to step back into a family when you’ve purposely separated yourself from them. When aging parents need help caring for themselves, but the relationship with them has been fraught and you or your siblings face making decisions when what you really want to do is hide from the whole thing to protect yourself, you have a few choices. OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters (Head to Wind Publishing) offers succinct, practical suggestions for approaching this dilemma. The article ( link below) in caregiver.com offers much the same approach — helpful and practical without sidestepping the difficulties. It’s never easy, but remember: you’re not alone.
See the eight practical guidelines offered in the article.
I’ve never been a believer in thinking up New Year’s resolutions because for one thing, they’re usually the stuff I’ve been trying to accomplish or delete all year long, and stressing over it during the last few days of every year, when life is stressful enough, just seems counterproductive to me. Having said that, some of my friends make them, and find the annual deadline helpful. Some even achieve them! Today’s Caregiver Magazine (who gave us an award for our book — thanks thanks!) has the same kind of suggestions that we, and virtually every other person who has done/seen or been recruited into caregiving subscribes to. If you’re a January 1-resolution-person, AND are a caregiver (though many of them work just as well for those who are simply trying to improve our own lives and live the best way we can day by day), they’re spot-on.
Here we are on day 22 with the Holidays approaching. Is drama the family’s normal state of being during the holidays? Are they restless? Do they flame childhood squabbles to create attention focused on them? Do you feel completely drained after the day is over?
Finding peace within yourself is one solution. Taking a vacation from the crazy family holiday is another. Being a 24/7 caregiver can be challenging enough, so don’t invite discord into your life. If the family insists on visiting, this could be a good time for you to take a well-deserved break. Leave. Take a drive or a long walk.
Remember…. You cannot control them (and you will NEVER fix them). You CAN take care of yourself, which is what you need to do to take care of your loved one once the holidays are over. You can choose do to what feels better for you!
What Matters Most? Finding your peace in the chaos.
When you are tired you feel disconnected, and it effects how you relate to those around you. Being tired increases stress, impairs cognition and can cause depression and anxiety. An easy fix is to go to bed early and avoid stimulants such as caffeine, sugar, TV and computers. Instead read a book or magazine (not on an electronic device), listen to soft music, meditate or pray.
What matters most? Creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
Our desire for you this month, dear caregiver, is to reconnect with yourself and find peace. You can start by doing something each day that makes you feel good. Get up early and enjoy a cup of coffee while you write or doodle in your journal. Read the paper, check emails, meditate or pray. Allow yourself fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time. Maybe you can build on the fifteen minutes and maybe not, but savor whatever time you can find the time everyday. Make it a ritual just for you!
What matters most? Giving yourself permission to do something each day for you!
Please join the OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters blog to celebrate ALL caregivers during National Family Caregivers’ Month. Caregivers are spouses, parents, siblings, children, relatives, friends and professional caregivers. A caregiver can be a person who lives alone and cares for themselves. This is your month to CELEBRATE YOU!!
Starting today we are dedicating this month to caregivers of every stripe with daily tips, support, humor and guidance to maintain your own wellbeing while caring for a loved one of any description. Look for tips from surprising resources. Please share this on your FB and LINKEDIN sites and help us honor those who provide care and support to those in need.
DAY 1 Journal
You’ve been working hard to take care of a loved one. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. As the days close in, begin to consciously nourish your body, mind and spirit. Start by journaling – even just a sentence or two – every day. Don’t make an inventory of the tasks you plan to (or feel you must) accomplish, but rather jot down your feelings about those tasks or about having them on your plate in the first place. Have fun with this. Write, draw or just doodle. If you can’t think of anything to write, write that down. (I don’t know what to write. I don’t know why I’m bothering. I feel alone in this…). Maybe come back to it later and see what comes up.
What matters most? Not what you write but that you take just a few moments for yourself to do it. It can free you in surprising ways.